I’d like to introduce you to a very good friend of mine, Bella Luna Bear. Bella came to live with us the day after Mothers Day 2011. When I say Bella came to live with us, it was more that she came to love with us. You see her older half-brother Oliver had lived with us for a mere 18 months before congenital spinal meningitis took him away. Oli was a little lover; he was happy to be held and carried wherever we went. Bella was all that and more. I always introduced her as a lab in Chihuahua body. Bella never met a stranger. She was always ready to leap on a lap, walk under a hand hanging down from the arm of a chair, or (her favorite) stick her nose under a resting hand. Saying, “HEY, let’s move that hand, my fur needs smoothing.”
As a pup her ears were waaaaayyyyy too big for her little head, we thought of calling her Stella Luna, for the storied bat, but landed on Bella Luna because she was such a beautiful little girl. Bella was a perfect little girl too. We never had any training accidents, and she never made that kind of a mistake in all her 12 years. She never nipped, never bit, might have growled, certainly barked at strangers outside the front windows. And squirrels. She loved to chase squirrels up and down the fence line. The squirrels on top of the fence, little Bella, all of 8 pounds furiously barking away as they would head one way, then back. Every victory brought her back though the doggie door with a smile. I know dogs don’t have the facial muscles required to smile, but Bellas little mouth was always turned up like she was having the best time.
She was smart too. You only had to teach her once and she locked it in place. She also knew what she wanted. As a 6- or 7-month-old pup we thought we would start her in agility training. Why? She was the bounciest little thing! From the floor to the top of our bed in a single bound, off the back of the sofa to the floor and out the doggie door like lightning. So, early one Saturday morning we bundled Bella and her new roommate Baxter up and took them to an agility dog demonstration day. There were all sizes of dog running the course, zipping around having a grand time. I was holding Bella and she was watching them like a hawk. After we got home that morning it was like she forgot how to bounce. I think she took one look at the goings on and decided no way! She only wanted to bounce when it was her idea, not on someone else’s command.
Bella was also a lot like the character Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. She had her places that she loved to lie down. In the doorway between the family and dining room in the summer (coolest tiles and good breeze from the ceiling fan), in front of the TV in the winter (close to the fireplace and no sparks possible), the top of the sofa in the front room (best view of the front lawn and most of the street). She was also a routine follower. Every morning we let the dogs into the bedroom, she was first up the ramp (remember she forgot how to bounce that high) and on my chest, run over to get a kiss from Mom, then dive into my chest with her little nose under my chin to get a complete belly run and snuggles. Then back down the ramp into the kitchen as Mom made breakfast for the dogs.
Bella didn’t like loud boomy noises, ever. Every 4th of July, every New Years Eve, every graduation night brought fireworks and a special treat. A sleepover with Mom and Pop. Little dogs in bed are a lot like little kids in bed. Something about the horizontal position allows them to increase their coverage area 200 percent. I could go on and on about all the ways she made me smile, but I think you get my point here.
Recently Bella developed a cough. The vet told us 6 weeks ago she had heart disease, but it was treatable. We could expect as much as a year or two with the medicine. Bella had other plans. The cough cleared up, mostly, and she got her meds every night when I took my heart medicine. Then Wednesday night she woke us up with a coughing fit. These coughs sounded different, harsher, more damaging. And they were. She already had an appointment with her vet the next morning, so off she went with Mom while I continued working in my shop. When they got home Mom was in tears. Bella had damaged her heart valves coughing. There was medical intervention possible but would only buy us a day or two. We knew it was time to let go. See, with Oli, we tried everything. We had been told it was hopeless, but we held on, and made his little life much too long. He wasn’t our happy little boy anymore; he was a drugged-out zombie dog who passed in his sleep on our couch one night. No way were we going to allow that to happen again. It was the hardest, right decision we’ve ever made in our lives. We are so sorry we had to make it, but we know it was the right thing for her.
If you are a dog person, you have many dogs in and out of your life. I’ve had dogs in my life for the last 40 years. I’ve never had a dog whose loss has crushed my heart this way. I am gonna miss this little dog like crazy. I know I will have other dogs, heck I still have Baxter, who I love as much. I think every dog owner has one dog come along in their life that matches their heart perfectly….
I’d like to introduce you to Bella.
2011-2023 Rest In Peace Sweet Girl